Momota has motored way ahead of me, says Zii Jia

  • Badminton
  • Sunday, 12 Jan 2020

A lesson: Malaysia’s Lee Zii Jia congratulating Japan’s Kento Momota after his win in the semi-final. Inset: Mixed doubles pair Chan Peng Soon and Goh Liu Ying struggling in their match. — S.S. KANESAN / The Star

IT’S was still a mismatch as Lee Zii Jia fell short in his bid to get the better of maestro Kento Momota of Japan in the international stage.

The 21-year-old’s fine run in the Perodua Malaysian Masters came to an end yesterday when he went down 10-21,19-21 to the two-time world champion Momota in a 43-minute men’s singles semi-final match – that showed the disparity in standard between the two players – at Axiata Arena in Bukit Jalil.

The defeat meant Zii Jia has yet to win any of the six meetings against the world No. 1 Momota. Infact, he has yet to take one game off the Japanese.

Zii Jia admitted that Momota was a master class act and that he felt “humiliated”.

“It looked so simple and effortless for him, he was really enjoying the match, ” said Zii Jia.

“He wasn’t even seriously playing at all. I felt humiliated.

“The gap between us is so obvious. It’s not only a thing or two that I have to catch up, there are just way too many.

“Even the rest of the top 10 players in the world are finding it hard to take a game off him. It does not matter whether one wants to play long rallies with him, 100 or 200 shots, he’s game for it.”

Zii Jia was hoping to secure his maiden third-tier World Tour final after winning the Taiwan Open and finishing runner-up at the Korean Masters. Both the Taiwan Open and Korean Masters are fourth-tier World Tour events in 2018.

Momota faces Viktor Axelsen of Denmark in the battle of two world champions for the title today.

The 2017 world champion Axelsen cruised into the final after triumphing 21-14,21-18 against Hong Kong’s Angus Ng Ka Long.

Axelsen will need to work his magic if he is to beat Momota, the man he has beaten only once in 14 meetings since 2014.

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